Around 70 people, including volunteers and authorities from the Yucatecan municipality of Hoctún, joined efforts to clean up the “Ek bis” cenote located in the town of the same name, where about half a ton of solid waste was extracted after more than 8 hours of operation on Saturday, December 8, 2018.
The dry area of the cave measures approximately 140 meters wide, which were traveled and cleaned in their entirety by the volunteer enthusiasts in conjunction with City Hall workers who started working before dawn.
After illuminating the vault, the Hoctunenes were pleasantly surprised to see this natural wonder in all its splendor, which to say of them, had never been illuminated in that way before. However, they were also surprised to notice the huge amount of garbage that was floating in the water, ,and lying all over the place- “we never imagined that the cave was so dirty” – said one of the local workers.
Similarly, with the support of volunteers from the Bepensa Foundation, Actinver Foundation and Grosjean Expedition divers specialized in these tasks, all kinds of garbage were took away from the surface and depths of the cenote’s waters. The objects found included cans, bottles, plastic bags, plastic containers, metals, countless pollutants, car tires and even objects of sorcery (according to locals).
-“We can’t understand how anyone who could think of throwing car tires into a cenote”- said Hoctun’s mayor César Alejandro Novelo who was present at the work.
One of the excellent news is that divers located a species of endemic fish in danger of extension: the blind fish or white lady (ophisternum infernale). A great discovery without a doubt, since this unique species on the planet and typical of the Yucatan cenotes, is not common to find these days.
The activity began at 6am, when municipal employees began to clean up the entrance to the cenote, while the technical team began with the operation to illuminate the 140 meters of this magnificent natural vault.
Mr. Fernando Ponce, president of the Bepensa Foundation was present at the site and gave a brief speech explaining the importance of these type of activities and thanking everybody for their valuable collaboration.
The volunteers, equipped with bags, went around the body of water collecting all kinds of solid waste, while the divers began the descent and went down to the depths of the cenote where they also found a lot of garbage.
According to these specialists, the cave has more than 100 meters of extension with a depth of at least 30 meters. As far as is known, it has never been explored by professional divers. The range of visibility is fantastic although this cenote is only suitable for certified cave diving experts.
In the end, around 500 kilos of solid waste were collected and the area was reforested with 50 plants donated by SEDUMA, who was also present at the operation.
TYT Newsroom with information from yucatanalamano.com